Photo: Fabrice Bourgelle (Ninja Tune)

The Bug – “Bad ft. Flowdan” (Singles Going Steady)

This new collaboration between Kevin "The Bug" Martin and Flowdan mixes a lot of sludgy noise with some spot-on lyrical flow.

Chris Ingalls: A brutal, intricate swamp of beats and rhymes, this new collaboration between Kevin “The Bug” Martin and Flowdan mixes a lot of sludgy noise with some spot-on lyrical flow. These two have collaborated frequently in the past (most notably in 2007 on “Skeng”), and it’s obvious that the combination of their talents results in songs that just “click.” This is one of those examples. A brief, uncomplicated single with a lot to say. [8/10]

Tristan Kneschke: The Bug engages with some old-school riddim in a collab with Flowdan. The fit feels comfortable, since it’s not the first time these two have worked together by any stretch. The grimey, scraping beat is where Flowdan usually stakes his claim, though his vocals seem to carry the entirety of this particular track. Unfortunately, the whole thing lacks an energizing force; by the halfway point, it’s lost momentum, with its last minute (at least) becoming superfluous. [5/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: The Bug is back at it again with some industrial dub, heavy and grimy, and it makes for some of the most ominous dancehall music you’ll ever hear. As always, the mixing is done with skill and finesse, and its weight ensures the beats are right up in your face: The Bug is not an artist to ignore. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: There is an imperative need to not just understand people from their own perspectives, but to understand the world from their perspectives as well. The lyrics trace the ways that Flowdan explores the society in which he grew up. He’s an active agent in a place that condemns him for being himself. The Bug’s presentation of outside forces as noises that interfere with one’s growth just reinforces the message. [7/10]

William Nesbit: The songs starts with the sound of an interstellar beam up. The world we are transported to is one of scratchy rhythms and throbbing bass. I can’t completely tell what he’s saying, something about hard living in East London as a child and adolescent. No matter; if this is the alien world, I’ll stay awhile before returning to earth. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.80